Member Profiles

A career in forestry is varied and rewarding and this is the place to learn more about some of our valued members.

If you would like to be featured, fill out this questionnaire and send it and some photos to webmaster@abcfp.ca.

If you are interested in understanding What is a Forest Professional, check out the link to our handy guide.

Alphabetical Listing

Leona Antoine, RFT Eric McCormick, RFT
Jacques Corstanje, RPF Steve Mitchell, PhD, RPF 
Andrew Flegel, RPF Lisa Perrault, RFT
Rob Friberg, RPF Steve Platt, RFT, AdDiplGIS
Noel Gairdner, RPF Sally Sellars, RPF
Kim Lefebvre, RPF Kristin Storry, RPF, RPBio
Marie-Lou Lefrancois, RPF, MSc William L. Wagner, PhD, RPF
Alvin R. (Sandy) Long, RPF Alex J. Woods, RPF, MSc
Fred Marshall, RPF, PAg Brooks Yancey, RFT

 

Chronological Listing

November 2015

William L. Wagner, PhD, RPF

HAS EXPERTISE IN: Ecological economics, forest policy in BC and Canada, Aboriginal forestry issues

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
Being an infantryman in the US Army I discovered I liked being out in the woods with snakes and insects but was not particularly fond of the military lifestyle, so I studied forestry at the University of California, Berkeley Campus, after my ETS (expiration - term of service).

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK
My work is in the areas of ecological and economic research and today it revolves around consulting.  When not in the field or teaching, most mornings are spent in writing and afternoons in research.  During the summer of 2015, I reviewed the new Land Use Order for the Great Bear Rainforest, which generated an interesting level of local controversy. In the upcoming months I will be looking at creating a timber price predictor for the BC Coast.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
I am proud of the students, professionals and citizen foresters that have become my friends and influenced my thinking – thinking that is a collage of research and experiences gathered over my 35 years in professional forestry. I am lucky that I can give a unique spin to these ideas and influence others to accomplish far more than I ever will.

JOB PERKS
I will walk away from this profession with memories of great people, funny moments and wonderful stories for my grandchildren (when they are born). One the best stories involves the loss of the bosses' son while marking timber and the subsequent search. Animal stories abound and one of the most memorable involves a dog and a whale on a foggy night, out on the water of Blackfish Sound.

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October 2015

Andrew Flegel, RPF

HAS EXPERTISE IN: Block and road layout, cable logging chance planning, appraisals

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
Growing up in the remote coastal town of Bella Coola, I spent more time outdoors than indoors exploring the forested crown land behind our home. That combined with my father's career as an RFT solidified the fact that I could continue to spend time outdoors and make a career out of it. I have always loved the idea of being paid to stay in shape and explore remote areas of our province. What could possibly be better?

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK
As a Permitting Forester my typical work week has a lot of variety. In fact not very many weeks are "typical". On any given day I may be out in the field completing timber reconnaissance and reviewing operability on a series of blocks, working on Visual Impact Assessments, scheduling Archaeological Impact Assessments, or in the office completing appraisals, logging plans and site plans to ensure the needs of my customers are being met.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
I feel proud knowing that I have the ability to make a difference and to ensure that the forests I am managing will continue to be healthy and productive for future generations to enjoy. In operational forestry I have the ability to make my own schedule and see the results of my decisions and watch them progress as the plans I have prepared are followed through. My job is fast-paced and always keeps me on my toes – looking to tackle the next challenge.

JOB PERKS
One of the biggest job perks for me has always been variety. The area of operations, which I currently work in, is large and diverse spanning from the dry interior plateau to the wetter central Rocky Mountains to the east and to the shores of Williston Lake to the north. I have seen an immense amount of this beautiful province both on the ground and from the air because of my career choice. Another perk that never gets old is that you never know what the next animal you're going to bump noses with might be. We share our workplace with animals large and small from squirrels and mountain beavers to moose and grizzly bears. Every day in the woods is an adventure and I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

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October 2015

Kristin Storry, RPF, RPBio

HAS EXPERTISE IN:

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
I was raised in Haida Gwaii and other small forestry based communities and I have always enjoyed the outdoors. Although I originally studied limnology as an undergrad, a forest management course soon changed my mind. I switched majors to an environmental science program and enrolled with the ABCFP as an Allied Science Forester in Training (ASFIT).

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK
The majority of my days are spent in the office writing management systems and operating procedures, researching legal requirements and maintaining clients' certification systems. Although I'm not in the field every day, my field days are usually pretty fun, so it makes up for all the office time.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
Regardless of the legal requirements or dedication of the professionals involved in forest management, I feel that implementing a certification system does inherently change management practices for the better. I have helped companies implement these systems and it feels great to know that my work has positively impacted management practices in BC (and throughout Canada), China, Japan, several states in the US and the Amazon forests of Brazil.

JOB PERKS
The best part of my job is that I get to see the entire production cycle of a log and connect with all the people involved. One day I may be in the bush completing a site plan and the next I may be inspecting an active harvesting site and a dryland log sort. Then a trip down-island or to the mainland has me in a log broker's office, a large log-to-lumber sawmill or smaller lumber finishing facilities. I have also been able to go to some great fishing lodges in Haida Gwaii for our Green Seal Certified clients!

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October 2015

Lisa Perrault, RFT

HAS EXPERTISE IN: Project management, Communications, Information Management

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
I camped a lot growing up and liked being in the forest but never thought about a career in it until two UBC Forestry students showed up at a Grade 12 Career Day. Then I submitted a summer job application to the Ministry of Forests which landed me on an all-female fire suppression crew. I loved the work and the life. I applied and was accepted into BCIT's Forest Resource Technology program.

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK
At this stage, I have done so many things that I can't call anything typical. For fieldwork, it was planting supervision and silviculture surveys in summers and layout on snowshoes in winter. Cartography became my specialty and I ended up drawing maps in forestry offices for industry, government and consultants (the current approach to this is called Geographic Information System management or GIS) – then I finally started my own business. Managing information has always been something I have enjoyed and I have started and maintained many systems – in forestry there is a lot of information to manage. After a few years with Western Forest Products, I shifted onto the safety team and developed a whole new skill set that took me beyond timberlands into manufacturing. I have also worked in communications and enjoyed reaching out into forest operations for great stories. These days I work on a variety of projects, many of which are connected with jobs and training.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
I think that all the types of work I have done have made a good contribution and I'm proud of it all. These days I get a lot of satisfaction from my work communicating and creating opportunities for new people to enter the forest sector into the wide array of jobs. Somehow, it seems these jobs are still a well-kept secret and I want to help get the word out!

JOB PERKS
I have been to some amazingly beautiful parts of our province – sometimes by boat, plane and helicopter. I enjoyed the drama of crazy weather or challenging conditions. I still find that most of the people who choose this work are wonderful to spend time with.

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September 2015

Marie-Lou Lefrancois, RPF, MSc

HAS EXPERTISE IN:

  • Research has been my primary area of expertise since I've worked as a consultant on stand dynamics , forest ecology and statistics, after my M.Sc. at the Centre of Forest Research in Montreal.
  • Motivated by an inspiring mentor/sponsor and wanting to achieve results on the ground, I transitioned to operations after gaining my RPF designation.
  • I now have some interest in forestry law which I would like to pursue in the future.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
When I was young my dad told me how important it was to work doing something you love, because you end up working most of your life.  We spent lots of time together in the forest, exploring, chopping wood and hanging out with trappers. It's always been my happy place. Years later, I met my husband tree planting in a bear-infested forest in Ontario. After planting together in northern BC, practicing forestry in this area became my career "holy grail". Fuelled by this and my husband's skiing addiction, we moved to Smithers from my home town of Montreal five years later.

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
As a planning forester, I work at the landscape scale, providing guidance and direction to operations. I make sure that the blocks are suitable and that harvest will not affect ecosystems, wildlife and other values. I work with many other specialists, such a professional biologists and road engineers, and consult with anyone that has interest on the landbase. This typically includes recreationists, the public and those who work in other industries. I also work with First Nations to ensure their interests are protected. I am very lucky to be the steward of a magnificent and diverse forest with an exceptional cultural heritage.
In a week I would typically work on GIS, perform some analysis, attend meetings, and go out one day to visit a block or two. My work is varied and I operate quite independently. It's pretty much the best job in the world!

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
There are very high expectations placed on forest professionals and I think we do a good job at managing this natural resource for the most part. I'm proud of my ability to reach compromises, where we are able to achieve economic goals, but also provide habitat for wildlife, stream protection, and plan for the future. I love spending time with kids and showing them the forest is not only lots of fun, but it's also a renewable resource that we can manage well.

JOB PERKS
Growing strong ties to the land by foot, road, water and air is very rewarding. In the spring we usually fly over the forest by helicopter to look at potential blocks. We also look at blocks after harvest to ensure our strategies to conserve values were effective. For example this year, I have spent days on gorgeous lakes evaluating visual quality objectives.  In my career, I always have the opportunity to learn and go on an adventure, with really fun people, and this has no value.

 

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August 2015

Brooks Yancey, RFT

HAS EXPERTISE IN:  Project planning, field supervision and due diligence reporting

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
After high school I really wanted to go the route of becoming a professional mountain guide, but I soon realized that it didn't offer the challenges that I was hoping for. I wanted something that combined my love for the outdoors and also my aptitude for the natural sciences. I started looking into programs across the country and decided that the Forest Resources Technology Program at Malaspina University College (now Vancouver Island University) was the perfect fit.

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
Typically I spend about 60% of my time in the field supervising large scale timber development projects on the coast. My office time is spent doing planning, logistics and quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC). I also perform due diligence assessments for large infrastructure developments in the hydro power and liquefied natural gas (LNG) industries.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
Despite what some people might say, I am a real conservationist. I know what the effects of timber development really are, and I can still hold my head up high in a room full of naysayers when the topic of "clearcutting" or "old growth" comes up.

JOB PERKS
I have been able to explore so much of this province from the southern tip of Vancouver Island to the Northern tip of Haida Gwaii and every major inlet and island between. I have flown to the top of a glacier and sipped scotch on the 1,000 year old ice from its base and I've observed every major animal species on the coast (some a little too closely). Along the way I've met some excellent people that I'm proud to call colleagues and friends.

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April 2015

Steve Mitchell, PhD, RPF 

HAS EXPERTISE IN: Silviculture, tree biology and ecology

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
I grew up in Vancouver, but always enjoyed being outdoors, and I did a lot of hiking and camping as a teenager. At 16, I had a job on the BC Parks Youth Crew, in the Rocky Mountains. I thought I would be a park naturalist or ranger, but then in Grade 11, I came across a display about the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Forestry at a career fair. I talked with a few people I knew in forestry and it all began to make sense ‒ a job outdoors, working with nature and people, and the opportunity to work overseas.

My first summer job was on an Initial Attack Crew in Kamloops then I worked for three summers in coastal silviculture. After graduation I spent five years in Quesnel working for West Fraser Mills, in silviculture, logging supervision and timber administration. I returned to UBC for graduate school in 1992, and have been there ever since.

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
As an associate professor in UBC Faculty of Forestry, I teach silviculture to the 3rd year students and am the head instructor of the Interior Field School (Fall Camp). I am also director of the new Master of Sustainable Forest Management program, and teach in three of the core courses in that program. Additional, I research wind effects on trees and forests. My days are full of teaching, meetings with students, and of course, committee meetings and conference calls with academics and professionals. I spend more time than I would like on a computer, and often have papers to review or lectures to prepare in the evenings. But I live near Pacific Spirit Park, and own 10 acres of forest, bog and beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island ‒ so I get out often enough.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
Forest professionals do work that has visible, long-lasting outcomes, and that affects the health and condition of the ecosystems and the people who depend upon them. In my career I have blended research, teaching and professional practice, and have worked to improve our understanding and management of disturbances in forest ecosystems. A real career highlight has been the opportunity to work with students and help them to learn how to observe and interpret pattern and process in forests, and to design thoughtful management plans.

JOB PERKS
I have visited forests throughout the world, and they are endless in their variety. Early in my career I spent a winter planting broadleaf trees on estates in southern England. I visit these stands every few years - some are over 20 m tall now. I have worked in the mangrove forests in coastal Belize and in the rainforests of Tasmania, and in beautiful and remote places all over BC.  I've met people from all walks of life who are passionate about forests.

Forestry is a truly rewarding job, and I still learn something new every day.

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February 2015

Leona Antoine, RFT, Lower Nicola Indian Band

HAS EXPERTISE IN:Roads and sediment control; Post-harvest obligations and reporting (roads, slash piles, and sediment control); Public relations (with Bands, land use planning, Naturalist Club, schools)

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
I initially was pursuing a career in conservation but the amount of frequent relocating did not work for my young family.  I still wanted to be a part of managing resources and forestry has many options so I continued with my studies and have been quite busy in the last 20 years.

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
A typical week for me with Aspen Planers Ltd. as a RFT contractor entails 50 percent field monitoring and 50 percent office work. Being involved in the roads program, I monitor many kilometres of road in the Interior between Princeton and Lillooet. There are targets that have to be met through the Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) certification program, so there is constant communication and data tracking with operations, general public, stakeholders and databases. At times, there are unplanned events (washouts, etc.) that have to be responded to accordingly.  In my work, I also use my multi-tasking skills and work alongside heavy equipment.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
I am proud of the work that I do because I am the last person on the cutblocks and want to leave a very light footprint after harvesting. I work closely with my operators to achieve this. With slash piles I offer fibre to Ledcor to see if there is more opportunity to utilize fibre for value-added products. If it's not chipped then I run crews to burn and encourage them to leave small piles to create habitat for small mammals. I revisit the areas one year later to see how treatments affected the landbase.  It's nice to see ungulates, bears and small mammals moving back in with very little impact.

JOB PERKS
I enjoy being able to sit at the tables where land management decisions are being made and to hear the various perspectives. Out in the field I love snowshoeing and the spectacular views of nature – mountain ranges to grasslands. In winter, when we light up the hundreds of piles, we all enjoy seeing and feeling the intensity of the fires.  On steep or hard truck access routes we helicopter in and get a birds-eye view of the valleys.

I have been able to watch deer, bears, owls, porcupine, coyotes, and moose grazing and their natural behavior without them realizing I'm there.

 

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January 2015

Eric McCormick, RFT

HAS EXPERTISE IN:

  • Timber valuation – including timber cruising, sort distribution and harvest cost analysis
  • Forestry engineering – including road location, cutblock boundary layout, d-line analysis and road re-activation planning
  • Crew supervision – leading a safety culture with our team, empowering and mentoring junior staff and ensuring field work is in line with our company's high standards

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
I grew up in the small forestry community of Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island. My family owned a remote waterfront acreage on the Cowichan River. From an early age I explored the surrounding forests and fished the Cowichan River. After high school graduation, I tried a number of jobs in the forest industry as it seemed like a natural fit for me. In 1995 I was hired as a crewperson for a Vancouver Island consulting firm and really enjoyed the work. A year later I enrolled at Malaspina University College (now Vancouver Island University) and completed the Forestry Resources Technology Program.

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
As a supervisor my typical week starts with organizing crews for field work and helping with daily safety meetings and inspections. One to three days a week, I am out with our field crews in both a supervisory role and a hands-on role with all aspects of cut-block and permit development. My office time is generally spent writing technical reports, completing appraisals, mapping in ArcGIS and designing coastal roads.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?

  • When our planning projects go "operational" and we see our plans in action.
  • Being partner in a company that provides high quality solutions for our forestry, natural gas development and natural resource clients.
  • Helping mentor junior staff as they grow in their forestry careers.
  • Assisting with capacity building in partnership with our First Nations clients.

JOB PERKS
Some of the technical perks of the job have been learning how to use some of the software/hardware tools that are commonly used in the forest industry such as Road Eng, ArcGIS, CENGEA and Trimble GPS. I've visited some of the most remote areas of British Columbia including the west coast of Vancouver Island, the north and central coasts, the back roads of Prince George, and the north country near Meziadin and Bob Quinn lakes. Over the years I have had the opportunity to fly a large area of British Columbia in many different aircraft ranging from a float plane to a Bell 412 helicopter. Recently I have had the opportunity to fly numerous times over the peaks and glaciers of the north coast range in an A-star helicopter.

When working on the coast we often drop the crab traps at the start of the day and then end the day with a crab feast. One of my fondest memories is having a crab feast on the crew boat while humpback whales breached close by. Another fond memory was an entire crew "sick day" to snowboard the three feet of powder that had piled up at our local ski hill.

Some scarier moments include being charged by a black bear, being stalked by a cougar and having to scare a big grizzly away with bear bangers.

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November 2014

Noel Gairdner, RPF, Cree/Dene (Metis)

HAS EXPERTISE IN:Forest protection, silviculture and planning

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
Having grown up in a large family, who shared an interest and had some involvement in the forest industry; I was destined to follow down the same path. My father, Enis Gairdner was a tree faller in Northern BC who filled several other positions from fire boss to camp boss. I really began my forestry career when I was 16 fighting fires in the Kotcho Lake area. Firefighting excited me, and I eventually worked my way up to the position of an initial attack fire fighter. Wanting to take my interest and skills to the next level, I enrolled in the Forestry Technology Program at the College of New Caledonia, and then completed my degree in Forest Resource Management at the University of British Columbia.

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
Previously I was employed with a consulting firm in Fort Nelson, BC, I was involved in the harvest planning of multiple proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipelines. British Columbia has diverse geographic landscapes, varied topography and climate; therefore, numerous ecosystems. This gave me an opportunity to become familiar with the Northern Interior Forest Region and the Coast of BC.

Having been involved in First Nations youth and elder mentorship programs, I have developed basic forestry seminars to teach to First Nations youth that coincided with the traditions of First Nations culture. Although, I have struggled personally as an Aboriginal man after my RPF designation "this opportunity has been beneficial to me as it reaffirmed my own Aboriginal spirituality and my commitment to a career in the forest sector". I want to thank TransCanada and Geoterra Integrated Resource Systems for allowing me to participate in this program it has been valuable to me.

Currently I am working on a project with the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centers that is looking at how to increase the economic participation of Urban Aboriginal People. I am  doing a survey of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organizations in the community of Fort Nelson and in the traditional territory of the Fort Nelson First Nation and other First Nations.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
I am proud of the work I do when I see positive results – like when I get to see many areas replanted around Fort Nelson. Some plantations over 25 years old, and are free-growing stands once again.

A lot of the issues that are dealt with in forestry are complicated and controversial. I believe that the work I've done used the best science available to meet the objectives of the BC Government, align with the duty of the ABCFP (to protect the public interest in our forests), and helped to ensure First Nations values were heard and respected within the proposed development plans.

Meeting with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the Fort Nelson area to discuss possible future economic opportunities is satisfying. I get to review successful initiatives and understand the types of programs that can be developed in the future to increase urban Aboriginal participation in the economy.

JOB PERKS
I've had the opportunity to fly throughout the Northern Forest Region and down towards the coast of BC near Prince Rupert in a helicopter. BC is breathtaking no matter what corner of the province you work in; the most scenic areas in the world are in BC.

Travel in the northeastern portion of BC can be challenging. I remember having to take the Ministry of Forests jet boat and head up the Fort Nelson River to the Liard River to check on tree planters. This was unbelievable feeling to be able to travel to your worksite through this unpopulated area.

Once while quading into in a cutblock off of the Liard Highway to do a planting inspection, some summer students and myself noticed, about 10 bears all standing together at the landing site. I never had seen a "group" of bears before. It was an amazing, unforgettable sight to see.

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October 2014

Alex J. Woods, RPF, MSc

HAS EXPERTISE IN: Forest management approaches to minimize: forest disease impacts (see study) to trees, forests and timber supply; and climate change impacts (see study) and implications of forest disease.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
With a last name like Woods what else could I do?  I grew up on a rural property in the Shuswap at the edge of the forest and my dad always taught us about trees, plants, birds and animals. A career in forestry just seemed to be a perfect fit. I had a series of great forestry summer jobs in the Shuswap area too that cemented the idea that a career in forestry was for me. 

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
In the field season I try to get out in the bush at least twice a week but that isn't always easy to do. If I am able to get out I am usually returning to a research trial I set up years ago to monitor forest disease conditions or too see something new that other forestry folks have brought to my attention. Over the winter I spend a lot of time analyzing data that I have been able to either collect myself or acquire through other sources. I then write up those results, ideally into a publishable paper or a conference or workshop presentation.  

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
I can see that some of my work is making a difference to the way we think about forest disease impacts on timber supply and how we might account for those impacts and possibly change practices as a result. I can also see how if we better understand those impacts, we can do more to combat climate change through more sustainable forest management (see study).  

JOB PERKS
I love to see the wildlife that I get to see when I am out in the field, not to mention all of the beautiful scenery. I get to work with a great group of people in Smithers. I have also been very fortunate to travel to conferences to present my work and have been able to develop a great network of colleagues from around North America and overseas. Forest pathology is maybe not for everyone but I sure love what I do.

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September 2014

Kim Lefebvre, RPF

HAS EXPERTISE IN: site plans, post-harvest silviculture liability management, forest engineering (cutblock and road layout), timber appraisals, and permitting.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
As a girl growing up in North Vancouver, a career in forestry was not exactly on my radar. I honestly didn't even know it was an option. Still, my parents instilled a love of the outdoors in me, and when it came time to think about my career options, my affinity for nature was a big influence.

From what I had gathered from the authority figures in my life, in order to get anywhere in the working world, I would have to get a post-secondary education. Being in Vancouver already, the University of British Columbia (UBC) was the likely choice, so I picked up a program guide and started checking out my options. By the time I got to the forestry program, I was thinking that everything else seemed either boring or wouldn't generate a decent income. Where was the excitement? The art? The passion? How could I capture those feelings and still make a good living? When I read about the forestry programs, I felt something click. Maybe I could earn a living doing something that kept me outside and healthy, while managing a resource I cared deeply about. So after a bit of research into the job prospects, I chose the Forest Resources Management program and never looked back.

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
At the beginning of my career, I was spending the majority of my time outdoors, far from civilization, experiencing the wild areas of BC first-hand. Working out of a small town in Northern BC for several years allowed me to gain the experience I needed to advance in my career and also to enjoy the great sense of community that BC's small rural towns have to offer.  These days, I spend the majority of my time in the office writing reports, preparing professional rationales, planning and supervising other professionals. I still get out to the field frequently enough to get some fresh air and collect information for my reports. An interesting off-shoot of my current job is my participation as co-chair of my company's Occupational Health and Safety Committee. In this capacity, I apply my past field experience towards communicating ways to keep our field teams and new workers safe in the woods, which has proven to reduce injuries and contribute to the success of our company.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
I am proud of the work I do, because I know that I am making a difference in forest management that aligns with the values British Columbians hold for their natural resource. Our team of professionals are leaders in resource stewardship, and work with integrity to ensure that our clients (license holders) are also trusted by the public. I am proud to work with a team that is passionate and dedicated to safety, quality, professionalism and collaboration.

JOB PERKS
Where to start? I find both the field and office portions of my job very cool for many reasons.

In the field, I get to take helicopters, float planes, boats, 4x4 pickups, ATVs and Utility Task Vehicles (UTV) to my work sites. There is nothing like watching dolphins play in the wake of your crew boat while sipping an early-morning coffee and thinking about the coming hike. At our company, most of us use tablets to record information, take pictures, navigate and write on digital maps. The field work is strenuous in Coastal BC, but I'm proud to be one of those who are tough enough to thrive in it. Rather than approach the rugged slopes with trepidation, our teams support each other, watch out for each other's safety, and face the work head-on with a physical and mental determination that I have rarely seen elsewhere. We use hand-held radios, satellite phones and GPS messengers to stay in contact with civilization and each other. In my field of expertise, I look at ecology, soils and signs of wildlife among many other things, but the experiences that stay with me are those rare and beautiful moments, like the time that I looked up at a sound to see a doe and two fawns grazing just steps away from me, or watched a pack of wolves running along a river from my bird's-eye view in a helicopter. Every forester has these moments, which are part of the reason we keep coming back for more in this rugged and often unforgiving terrain.

Back at the office, I utilize our innovative and resourceful GIS team, who operate state-of-the-art technology, to generate maps and supporting information for my reports. Our company is a provincial leader in seeking out and applying technologies such as LiDAR and 3D imagery in the natural resource sector. This makes for an exciting dynamic at work, especially when we discover new ways to use technology to our advantage.

Another aspect of my job that contributes significantly to my job satisfaction is the variety. Being a diversified consultant offers an array of projects to work on, not only in traditional forestry, but in the energy sector (wind farms, hydroelectricity), community forests, recreation management, wildfire protection, First Nations relationship-building and so on. Our team is as diverse as our projects, with professional biologists, timber cruisers, engineers, forestry professionals and many others on staff to provide support to each other and offer their unique expertise on single or multi-phase projects.

If I had to choose the best job perk, I would say it comes down to the team that I get to work with every day. The supportive and engaging environment at our company has provided me the opportunity to challenge myself regularly and grow in my career, which is something that every job-seeker should strive for and value above all else.

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September 2014 - National Forest Week Special Profile

Fred Marshall, RPF, PAg

My First (and Favorite) Hardhat

The story begins in the spring of 1960 when approximately 60 second-year University of Idaho forestry students showed up at the McCall Summer Camp located in central Idaho. Relationships among us students were tenuous as our time together so far had been quite short. It mostly involved introductory forestry courses such as ecology, biology and chemistry; essential courses but not the types of things we were interested in. For us, the more important and interesting classes were coming soon in the form of field-camp sessions.

After arriving at camp, signing-in and finding our tent-covered cabins we settled in. Few of the students had hardhats but they were necessary for the woodsmen of the day. Obtaining one was a bit of a challenge – especially for young rookies. However, the Homelite Chainsaw Company came to the rescue presenting brand-new, free, wide-brimmed, red hardhats with "HOMELITE" painted across the front to all the students.

However, virtually everyone carefully scratched off the Homelite name and replaced it with their own names (thanks to one of the students who was talented in calligraphy). The paint used was of excellent quality and although it was applied over 50 years ago, it is still in very good shape.

Such a relatively small gesture did much to strengthen those tenuous bonds that held us together and our new found camaraderie came in handy during the adventures we were soon to experience. These adventures were enabled and enhanced by our trusty hard-hats!

After a few weeks at camp studying botany, dendrology and basic fire training, the weather turned very hot and dry and the US Forest Service was swamped fighting fires. They saw a ready-made firefighting crew in the student group and took advantage of us and our inherent enthusiasm to fight fire.

The first foray into firefighting included a long bus ride to a jump-off point some distance from a fire located east of Marshall Mountain on the Salmon River breaks. We arrived at our starting point at dusk and were met by a disgruntled smokejumper who had just walked out from the fire which was exhibiting lots of activity. Armed with headlamps, hand tools, water and, of course, our hardhats, we hiked two to three miles over broken ground to the fire. We spent about 10 days on that fire during which our hardhats were used several times to scoop water out of a shallow creek to stop the fire – and we did stop it! The Forest Service staff were very happy.

Often after washing up at camp we would visit the local pub where on Friday nights they would fill our hardhats with beer for only $1. We also proudly wore our hardhats whenever meeting with the smokejumpers since they competed with us for the attentions of the Girl Guide leaders who had their camp a short walk across the peninsula from our camp.

Our time at camp was full of close-calls, adventure and learning and the memories have stayed with me for over 50 years. I still regularly wear my first and best hard hat. It sports its fourth leather hat band and its second set of side nylon straps. It doesn't have any expiry date stamped on it so, as far as I'm concerned, it still meets WorkSafe requirements. It also has the requisite six-point suspension and makes a very comfortable seat on a wet, rainy day. When asked by others if it is safe, I always say "yes" and challenge them to a hard hat-bashing contest – metal vs. plastic (which I know I would win). On the last fire I was on (in 2010) my hard hat was the only one of its kind in a group of over 600 firefighters! I was the oldest firefighter on the line with the oldest (and my opinion, the best) hardhat.

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August 2014

Alvin R. (Sandy) Long, RPF

HAS EXPERTISE IN:forest road design, harvesting systems, sawmill design and consulting. Sandy also considers himself a generalist in the field of forestry.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
I grew up in a logging and sawmilling family. The first seven years of my life were spent mainly in sawmill camps. I earned spending money peeling railway ties. I played with my brother out in the bush every day. As young as three years of age I took my dad's thermos out to him in the woods each morning. My brother (age five) and I (age six) built our own cabin, complete with operating door and window glass. I consider this my most significant achievement.  I love the bush as much now as I did then.

Growing up, I built my own roads in a gravel pits (about one metre wide) involving end hauls over ponds and side cuts with grade control. A career in forest harvesting and roads was almost automatic. I was good academically, and a university degree was expected of me (although as a pioneer kid, my Dad had only completed Grade 8).

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
In March 2014, I drove to my BC Timber Sales cedar sale, grading the road and loading trucks with cut-to-length cedar that I bucked myself last fall. Loading started as early as midnight to take advantage of the frost at night. After the last truck was loaded, I drove the 110 km back to Prince George (where I had a small crew assembling a sawmill to cut the cedar).  My work days were about 18 hours long.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
The fact that I'm still physically able to keep up with or excel in a multitude of forestry applications makes me proud. I checked the listing of practicing RPFs last year and found that I was in the top (most senior) 20 members. So far, so good...

JOB PERKS
I worked for years in big industry as woodland manager and sawmill division general manager but the most rewarding and difficult jobs have been as a self-employed entrepreneur. That gets me up in the morning.

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July 2014

Rob Friberg, RPF

HAS EXPERTISE IN:

  • Forest management and multi-stakeholder strategic planning.
  • Forest-based climate change mitigation initiatives.
  • Adaptive management approaches that promote learning and continual improvement.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
I enjoy the outdoors so there was a natural fit but also I saw forests as a crucial resource, not only from an economic and employment point of view, but also for the role they play in sustaining environmental services including water, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and the natural beauty they surround us with every day. I wanted to play a part in ensuring the sustainability of the many benefits we get from forests, and the conservation of their ecological integrity. 

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
A typical work week has changed considerably over my career. During my time in the forest industry it often included a couple of days at the office and some time in the field visiting sites via snowmobile, quad and often lots of walking. In my more recent international work I have spent many weeks on the road interviewing rural forest landowners and co-facilitating workshops in which stakeholders participate in planning strategic direction for their forest-based communities. Now I work from home and a typical day may include writing forest plans and making calls to different parts of the world from BC to South America and Africa. I still go the field though and on my last trip I was flown over remote tropical forests and taken in small boats up rivers to assist with the development of sustainable forest management plans for one of the most biodiversity-rich areas on the planet.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
I feel as though I'm contributing to new and innovative ways for managing forests. It is a very exciting time to be involved in forest management especially given the importance we are learning that forests have for such a wide range of values, not the least of which concern climate change mitigation and the importance of the different social and cultural relationships with forests around the world.    

JOB PERKS
The best part is that you can make your pick-up truck your office if you like and you can also choose to participate in influencing policy and practices for one of the most critical natural resources we have globally. Forestry has given me the opportunity to work in rural BC communities, Vancouver office towers, remote tropical forests, and, most importantly, with really great people. 

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June 2014

Jacques Corstanje, RPF

HAS EXPERTISE IN: Silviculture management, operational planning (roads and cutblocks), strategic planning (Forest Stewardship Plans)

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
I loved spending time exploring and hiking in the forests ever since my parents took me camping as a child. Forestry seemed like a great way to spend more time outdoors while earning a living.  It has turned out better than I could have ever anticipated, and every working day is something I continue to look forward to.

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
Earlier in my career a typical week would be spent travelling to a work site somewhere in the province, often very remote locations, then working in the forest locating roads, blocking boundaries, evaluating timber, ecology, soils and vegetation, or maybe looking after a planting program, or supervising logging or road construction. Later in the week I would spend time evaluating and summarizing the data gathered earlier in the week to build logging plans and maps, road designs, etc. As my career evolved, I began to work with a team of forest and other professionals supervising forest planning, development and silviculture programs. Now, much of my time is spent on administrative work but I still manage to get out in the forest (particularly when the weather is good). The forest is also a big part of my recreation – fishing and hiking are great fun and ways to explore and find new places that few people get to see.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
I take personal pride in work I do, and enjoy re-visiting areas I have worked on in the past to see what I've accomplished. I've been fortunate to be able to see blocks and roads through from conceptual stages through permitting, construction, harvest, all the way through to reforestation and free growing. These days when I visit some of my earlier blocks I see forests that are thriving and quickly growing to become the next crop (second growth).

JOB PERKS
Transportation to work areas is often an adventure. Every time I get into a helicopter I think of how fortunate I am. The ATV training I took a few years ago was the best training I've ever had – a full day of racing around on an ATV learning to handle it properly and safely – and to think I got paid for that too! When I worked in Prince Rupert much of the work sites were accessed by boat on 10-day trips. It was hard work hiking along mountain sides during the day but in the evenings, we were able to do some fishing or crabbing for a seafood dinner the next day.

Wanna learn more about Jacques and his job? Check out his CareerTrek BC video.

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May 2014

Sally Sellars, RPF, Northern Secwepemc, Xat'sūll/C'metem (Soda/Deep) Creek First Nations

HAS EXPERTISE IN: Working with First Nations communities and building connections with industries and BC government.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
I wanted to use my skills to bring information on natural resource activities to the communities and in exchange, bring traditional and cultural concerns to the attention of decision makers (and include them in Forest Stewardship and Development Plans).

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
As a natural resources referral worker for the Tŝilhqot'in National Government, I help to bring together industry and the provincial government to improve access management (e.g. limiting vehicle use in critical wildlife areas), determine wildlife corridors and increase connectivity. The Tŝilhqot'in National Government strives to make sure wildlife and cultural values are protected and that this protection is part of each planning project we work on.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
I am proud because people in the communities see results of the work I do and they know that progress is being made. For example, we see more of the moose population using the land (wildlife corridors) that we set aside for them and other wildlife in our stewardship and development plans.

JOB PERKS
A great perk to my job is going to First Nations community gatherings. I think it is such a benefit to be able to see first-hand salmon and meat drying on open racks, watch the peoples fish, and observe and participate in traditional cultural activities such as storytelling, stick games and ceremonies at the sweat lodge.

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April 2014

Steve Platt, RFT, AdDiplGIS

HAS EXPERTISE IN: Forest Engineering, GIS, Remote Sensing (LiDAR) and Global Navigation Satellite Systems

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAREER IN FORESTRY?
I grew up in a family supported by forestry and connected with the industry. When looking for possible career options, I wanted to do something technical, but still had a physical component and wouldn't have me strapped to a desk. The Forest Resources Technology Diploma Program at Vancouver Island University (VIU) really spoke to me. Later, I enhanced my forest tech diploma with an Advanced Diploma in GIS from VIU. The rest is history.

TELL US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY OR WEEK?
I'm usually processing and analyzing LiDAR data and applying field knowledge to design cutblocks for harvesting operations. I also mentor field staff and train others on how to best integrate and manage LiDAR data into daily activities. In addition, I get to head out into the field to ground truth and validate LiDAR based developments.

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF THE WORK YOU DO?
Debunking the myths of forestry being a dying industry run by dinosaurs. I have got to lead the charge and push new technology and advancement in the field, including the use of tablet computers, LiDAR, hyperspectral imagery (to detect forest health and tree species), 3D modelling (for Visual Impact Assessments), real-time kinematic global navigation satellite systems and much more.

JOB PERKS
I have seen some of the most beautiful and remote areas of the province. I have travelled to these remote areas by every possible method – helicopter, float plane, boat, and UTV. More recently, I had the opportunity to be on the leading edge of a technological revolution in forestry; have had the chance to participate in online webinars and peer mentorship; and I've met many new people in the process.

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